ND Filters for Timelapse

Just trying to get some ideas for ND filter usage. I know the VIEW isn’t quite ready for it, but seems that is a feature that is in the works.

So ahead of this, what are some standard rule of thumbs you all use when reaching for the filters?

And beyond those, how do you guys deal with avoiding movement when attaching or detaching?

How do we all feel about variable ND filters? I had frustrations with crosses when pointed directly at the sun so actually threw it off the cliff haha

And lastly, post production…ND filter addition or removal makes bigger than usual shutter or ISO adjustments so what’s a good way of dealing with this?

i have tried them once or twice, but because of the issues above I’ve found them more useful for individual still images rather than time lapse.

It would help if the user could set the f-stop reduction rating for a filter in the VIEW, and let the VIEW compensate the exposure automatically when a filter is added or removed. The original Timelapse+ had this feature.

I’ve experimented with ND filters and the view to control shutter drag. My understanding of the view is that it bases its exposure calculations on looking at the actual images rather than reading the ambient light conditions so it doesn’t need to know the ND is there. I’ve successfully used an ND4 and ND8 for day to night. I found it gives a little more shutter drag to the day part and, with a careful choice of aperture, the¬†night part isn’t compromised. I should also add that I’m using fully manual lenses and stop down metering so I can set any aperture without flicker being an issue. It would be interesting to see if there would be a way to remove the ND part way through and let the view know but I’m skeptical that the transistion could be made seamless.


I have tried the graduated filters and as you mentioned the banding is pretty annoying in motion time lapses; so they aren’t usually used.

Variable filters again we’re in the same thinking there it seems (the X thing is an issue).

As for the typical ND filters, I personally was looking at their use more so for the shutter lag and the smoothness that this introduces into moving objects. I have tried to achieve it with having my aperture closed down to f/22 which starts to be ok…but for daylight shots it just isn’t enough usually.

You do have a good point that during the switching of filters in sunrise or sunset conditions, stopping and restarting with a change of framing is probably the most reliable way to go about it. Though if i recall with the VIEW there is something about how for it to ramp reliably we should aim to start our shots 1hr before sunset/sunrise…Have a feeling starting mid sunset/sunrise might introduce some other issues if this is the case.

I guess on the one hand i just need to test it out a bit more with using them on the VIEW, but i also had the Ramper Pro a while back and while i admittedly never used it, i recall there being a feature in the set up which allowed for the inclusion of ND filter usage. I’d guess it has something to do with compensating the algorithm calcs between what the camera is seeing and what the external light sensor is reading and assuming that the camera should be seeing…if it knows there is an ND filter on it, it will adjust the timing accordingly.

So in short it’d be a good thing to see the VIEW look at including this (which it sounds like it’s on the wishlist already for EP).

And generally just trying to get some general content rolling on this forum to be honest; have lost of these little things come to mind from time to time.

Hi Bryan,

I suppose the another thing to consider if using motion control (which I don’t have), a Grad ND filter might cause ‘banding’ through your video unless the control system tracked parallel to the actual axis of the filtration (line) – but then there would be the risk of darkening other objects within the frame being darkened. I’m only speculating here!


Hi Bryan,

Just for clarification, when you say “ND filters” are you referring to “Graduated” or “Full” ND Filters?

At the moment I haven’t had the need to actually use ND Filters (grad or full) when shooting a timelapse with the View. I’ve just ensured that I don’t overexpose/clip the highlights and during post-processing pull details out of the shadows/darks that I need by using a ‘mask’ and adjust up the exposure as required. I think if you start to putting the grad-filters on/off during the shooting of the timelapse, I think you would introduce extra flicker (but I have no experienced, just my thought!), as there would be a noticeable exposure jump between the two images. Not to mention shake to the camera.

I personally don’t use variable grads but I have read about the ‘X’ that can occur especially when used near their max strength. If you are using the Grad Filter to induce some shutter lag, I personally would stop the timelapse to add/remove the filter and then begin the timelapse workflow again, using a different angle etc to show a different break etc.

Hopefully someone else has actually experience in this.



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